In a Seattle Times op-ed published today, our own Clark Williams-Derry opines on what the great Seattle Clog that Wasn’t can teach us about transportation.
A couple of the money paragraphs are posted below. We’d encourage you, though (how could we not) to read the whole thing, comment below, and share with your pals. (Also see Clark’s original post “Apocalypse? Nah.”)
This lesson—that traffic is more flexible than we think—should teach us something about today’s transportation debates. For example, the amount of northbound traffic diverted from I-5 was just about equal to the volumes that enter the Alaskan Way Viaduct every day from south of the West Seattle onramp.
The two cases are not precisely parallel—closing I-5 for a few slow summer weeks is certainly not exactly the same thing as closing the viaduct for good.
Yet the fact that the existing transportation system sufficed to forestall a disaster should give us more confidence that, with modest improvements in transit and traffic flow, the region’s commuters can find workable commuting solutions without the massive costs and neighborhood disruption of rebuilding the viaduct.
I don’t know about you, but my money is on greater Seattle’s commuters. We’ve proven ourselves to be a crafty bunch—if we can outwit an I-5 lane closure, with a little help I bet we can handle just about anything.